Because it’s nearly impossible to go out for Tex-Mex without eating a basket of tortilla chips and salsa, making these air fryer chicken fajitas satisfies the restaurant craving without all the calories. The simple chipotle and citrus marinade creates chicken that’s juicy and tender but charred around the edges just like you like it.
Throw together a taco bar for the family or use your fajitas as a meal prep option to make baked tacos and quesadillas later. The possibilities are endless!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas
There’s a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, but between here and there you’ll find a visual recipe walkthrough with ingredient substitution notes, air frying tips, and hopefully answers to any questions you might have. I like to think it’s a thorough but brief rundown. No stories about my childhood, I promise!
Fajita Chicken Marinade
The marinade I used for these air fryer chicken fajitas adds tons of flavor, quite a bit of heat, and makes the chicken extra juicy and tender. Here’s what you’ll need:
- chipotle peppers in adobo
- juice from an orange and two limes
- soy sauce
- olive oil
- ground cumin, garlic powder, and dried oregano
If you’d like to learn more about the science of marinades like how soy sauce provides salt, glutamates, and proteases to both tenderize and add lots of flavor, read through this recipe for skirt steak fajitas.
Want to use chicken breast instead of thighs?
To use chicken breast, follow the recipe as written but check on the chicken early to avoid overcooking. Chicken thighs are much more forgiving than breasts. And if you have really uneven chicken breasts, you’ll probably want to pound them to an even thickness.
Don’t have time to marinate chicken?
I get it. One of my favorite ways to skip a marinade is to cut the chicken into smaller pieces. Marinades barely penetrate the surface of meats. Cutting proteins before marinating creates more surface area, which results in faster action.
Using my air fryer Greek chicken and potatoes as an example, you can add chicken pieces to a marinade at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before cooking and still get lots of flavor.
If you’re going this route, I would slice the chicken into fajita style strips and marinate at room temperature while you prepare everything else and preheat your air fryer. The chicken will cook faster in slices so you’ll want to reduce the cook time by a few minutes.
The recipe calls for a green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and onion. I used a white onion, but yellow and red onions would work as well. I’ve also added thinly sliced Serrano and jalapeño peppers for a little extra heat and flavor variety.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to get creative. Just don’t overload your air fryer.
How to Make Chicken Fajitas in an Air Fryer
I used a 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi 301 model for this recipe. Every air fryer is different so you may need to slightly adjust cook times based on your unit. A food thermometer is a great investment to check food temperatures.
1. Air fry the chicken for 12-14 minutes at 400ºF.
You’re looking for some charred edges and caramelization on the surface from the sugar in the marinade. Once the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165ºF, transfer out of the air fryer to rest while you cook the peppers and onions.
2. Add the fajita veggies to the remaining marinade while the chicken cooks.
Adding the veggies to the remaining marinade is optional, but you’ll soak up some extra flavor and, if you’re a macronutrient counter, make sure no calorie goes to waste. If you decide not to use the remaining marinade, I would toss the veggies in a tablespoon of olive oil before air frying.
3. Air fry the fajita veggies for 15 minutes, shaking halfway through.
The finished veggies should have some browning around the edges, and the onions should be soft while the peppers are somewhere between softened and tender crisp. You definitely don’t want mushy peppers, in my opinion.
4. Slice the fajita chicken and add to the cooked veggies.
Allowing the chicken to rest while the veggies cook will give the proteins time to thicken the juices, making sure your air fryer chicken fajitas max out the moist scale.
The residual heat in the air fryer and veggies should be enough to warm the sliced fajita chicken to a great serving temperature. If your timing is a little off and you need to reheat, use a low temperature in your air fryer for a minute or two.
Serving Your Chicken Fajitas
I’m sure you’re familiar with the typical fajitas spread. Warmed tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream (or fat free Greek yogurt), and in true Tex-Mex fashion, shredded cheddar cheese. Of course, you can add any condiments or fixin’s you want.
On the side, you could go with classic rice and refried beans or make something like my Traeger smoked charro beans or refried black beans.
These air fryer fajitas would also make a great filling for recipes like my crispy baked tacos or air fryer quesadillas.
More Healthy Tex-Mex Recipes
Living in central Texas, I have an affinity for Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. Here are some of my favorite healthier adaptations on my blog:
- Ninja Foodi Shredded Mexican Chicken
- White Bean and Salsa Verde Ground Chicken Soup
- Cheesy Tex-Mex Ground Beef and Rice Skillet
- Homemade Mexican Chicken Chorizo
- Healthy Tacos de Bistec
- Oven Roasted Chicken Al Pastor
- Traeger Smoked Chicken Breast
- Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip
And that’s a wrap. I hope you enjoy your air fryer chicken fajitas. If you have any questions I forgot to cover, drop a comment at the bottom of the post. And if you do enjoy, I always appreciate recipe reviews!
Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas
Spicy chipotle citrus marinated chicken and veggies air fried to crispy and charred on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside perfection.
- 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 Onion, cut into strips
- 2 Bell Peppers, cut into strips
For the Marinade
- 1/4 cup Fresh Orange Juice (1 medium orange)
- 1/4 cup Fresh Lime Juice (2 limes)
- 2 tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3.5 oz can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, finely chopped, smashed, or blended (use 1/2 to reduce spice)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Add the chicken thighs and marinade to a resealable bag or container and marinate for 2- 3 hours (and no longer than 12 hours).
- Once ready to cook, preheat an air fryer at 400ºF for 5 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, keeping any run off in the container, and place in the air fryer basket. Cook for 12-14 minutes at 400ºF or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Once the chicken is cooking, add the veggies to the remaining marinade and shake or stir to coat. Set aside.
- Once the chicken is cooked, transfer out of the air fryer and set aside to rest.
- Cook the veggies for 12-15 minutes at 400ºF, shaking halfway through until the onions are soft and starting to brown around the edges and the peppers are tender crisp.
- Slice the chicken and add back to the air fryer basket with the veggies. Toss everything together and air fry another minute or two at a lower heat to reheat, if needed. Serve with warmed tortillas and your choice of condiments.
For ingredient substitution notes, see the post above.
For Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas
I've not tested alternative cook methods but using other recipes from my site as a guide, here's what I would do:
You can bake everything together on a half sheet pan for around 20 minutes at 400ºF. Or you can use the broiler and your top oven rack to cook the fajita veggies first until they begin to char before adding the chicken and cooking until it reaches 165ºF, maybe 12-15 minutes total.
Nutrition Facts Notes
Each serving has 4 WW SmartPoints (blue).
Nutrition info is for chicken fajitas only, no tortillas or condiments.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 12gCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 23g
Monday 29th of November 2021
I have always done my fajitas in the AF, and while they were good, they were just that....good. I found this recipe and used the marinade (I omitted the soy sauce because of the sodium) but let me just say WOW, what a game changer! I will never make fajitas another way. So much flavor it is just incredible, and super easy!
Sunday 3rd of October 2021
Absolutely loved this recipe! It was so simple and I didn’t have to pull out the grill. Very flavorful and the chicken didn’t dry out. We made a double batch to enjoy during the week. Will definitely keep this in our rotation!